FOR THE LOVE OF PAUL

I’m glad you gave Paul Kossoff the credit he deserved in your cover feature (June 2013). He was my hero growing up and I spent many, many hours learning his parts rather than doing my homework. Every weekend I could make it I would head down to Denmark Street, and my admiration for the man increased tenfold when he turned up in the same shop as me on a couple of occasions. Although he might not have been completely sober, he had a good word for anybody who wanted to talk to him, and he would happily while away the time trying out gear. The opportunity to get to see the man play close-up (at a time when actually going to the gigs was completely out of the question) left me with memories I still cherish to this day. I urge every guitar player to listen and learn from Paul Kossoff – it won’t be time wasted.

Des Murday via email

A VERY HAPPY RETURN

Just wanted to add my experience regarding stolen guitars after reading your feature in the May issue. About 10 years ago I had my house burgled and my 1987 Fender Tele was stolen along with everything else. It wasn’t an expensive or a great guitar, but it was my only guitar and the one I’d learned to play on. A couple of months later, not being able to relax by bashing out a few chords started to bug me so I went into a guitar shop about an hour’s drive from my house to pick out a new one. Yes, you’ve guessed it… my old guitar was up on the wall (it had a couple of dings in the paintwork that I remember happening – and still wince about to this day). I pointed this out to the sales assistant, who called over the manager. To begin with, he was polite but suspicious. He called the member of staff who had been working the day it had been bought and found out that a middle-aged woman had brought it in, claiming that her son, who was supposedly overseas serving in the Army, had asked her to sell if on his behalf. We all agreed it was a plausible story, however false I was claiming it was. After a civil conversation, the manager agreed that if I could provide proof it was my guitar I could have it back. I duly went home, got the receipt, the insurance and police paperwork – and some photos of me with the guitar – and went back. And, true to his word, the manager handed the guitar to me. He apologised for the trouble and advised me to send the details around to all the local guitar shops if it ever got stolen again. He also kindly requested that I didn’t tell anyone what had happened as he didn’t want a rush of people less scrupulous than myself claiming that a guitar had actually belonged to them when it wasn’t true. But your story prompted me to tell you, just to prove that some shops do go about things the right way even when it costs them. To the shop and its staff (you know who you are), thanks once again for your assistance.

Nigel Ravenscroft via email

G&B We’re happy to raise a glass and toast all concerned for doing the right thing. During the course of putting the feature together we were constantly reminded how shops were often put in a difficult position. Of course it’s no excuse to indulge in criminal behaviour but no one likes losing money – so well done once again to that unnamed virtuous guitar retailer and all who work for them…

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